I think so.
I come from a society which places age limits on women when it comes to settling down. The first time i encountered this was when i was talking to a friend over the phone and all of a sudden, he mentioned that i was remaining with only 4 years before i became ‘expired material’. I was 24 then meaning according to him, i ought to be settled by 28. The second time was yet another male friend who acted genuinely concerned, by letting me know that in 3 years time, i should be settled with a hubby. The third time, it wasn’t directed at me but to all women generally. This female lecturer was telling us in class how she had met one of her former students who was already in her late twenties and not yet married. According to her, she was concerned as to why this particular former student opted to first concentrate on her career before settling down and advised her to hurry up and find an eligible man.
Welcome to Proudly Feminist, where such stereotypes are trashed!
Women have been pressured by societies to the point of settling for less in relationships because they don’t want the `expiry date’ to catch up with them. As long as the man seems willing to settle and the woman is in her late 20s, then she has no qualms moving in with him, never mind whether they are indeed compatible or not or whether he will ever make it official or never. Makes me wonder at times when the `expiry date’ for men is since some stay till 35 years of age before they think of marriage. I have heard of men claiming that women who have reached their 30s while still single are no good, because of the number of sexual partners they have had from the time they broke their virginities. Others claim that by 30, a woman is already aging. Who talks about the number of sexual partners a senior male bachelor has had? Who talks about a man aging by the time he hits 30 while still unmarried? Never mind that some 30 year old men already have a beer belly thing going on in their bodies. All these people furthering these stereotypes need to know that a marriage is for a life time and that the period of time you date someone also matters.
Many people have been led to believe that the dating period does not count. I don’t dispute that fact as there are indeed people out there who dated for less than 6 months and ended up in wonderful, solid marriages. However, for those women who are for the idea of dating for a longer period of time and are also a little scared that age is catching up with them, my only advice would be not to fret. I personally, do not believe in age limits. The placing of age limits on women by society is what makes women rush into marriages without getting to know the men properly. It is what makes women settle for bogus men because they are scared of society pointing fingers at them. Yet there is a good reason why people date in the first place. So as to learn about each other more and to find out whether you can handle each other’s shortcomings or not.
Why should you put up with less only for a marriage to break 2 or 3 years down the line?
What women need to know is that having a man in your life is not a direct ticket to happiness. It is equally not an escape route for personal insecurities and problems. Another thing they also ought to know is that it is perfectly OK for a woman to have standards as to what kind of a man she wants. It doesn’t matter if it will take her 10 years to find that man. As long as she is clear on her specifications, then she should not worry what society thinks of her. Some women are equally known to point fingers at their fellow unmarried counterparts by claiming that they are single so that they can prey on their husbands. If at all you married the man of your dreams and trusted him fully to the point of living with him in the same house, why then are you worried that a single woman somewhere is going to snatch your man??
It is this pressure that society places on women that makes them settle for men they are not sure of and have them turn into these paranoid monsters, who in turn will face ridicule from society yet again, for watching over their husbands like hawks. Nobody places this rush on men to marry. As a matter of fact, men are allowed to pursue their dreams, make their investments and enjoy their singlehood to the fullest and even though some concerned parents may at times ask for grandchildren from their sons, it is never that serious. Women on the other hand are made to feel odd for wanting to pursue their careers, make their investments and enjoy their singlehood. They are made to feel that with a man in their lives, everything will just fall into place and that their worries and fears will just fade away once in a marriage. What society fails to acknowledge is that in recent times, everyone is for himself and therefore, you may get into a marriage where the man is hardly a provider. You then need to have something to sustain you and your family while in such a situation.
There is nothing absolutely wrong with delaying marriage no matter what age a woman is. A woman needs to be very assertive when it comes to relationships. The same way a man points out clearly the kind of women he would settle down with and the kind he would not dream of even getting near, should be the same way a woman points out the exact kind of man she wants. When society kills that assertive spirit in women by making it seem like they need to do something so as to get that societal respect, then we have many women getting into marriages for the sake of it. They do not get married to the ones they really want rather they get married so that they can have kids before a certain age catches up with them or to beat the outrageous `expiry dates’ placed on them. The end result is people tolerating each other in marriage and not loving each other enough to keep the marriage bond strong.